Hard Facts About Insurance Company Networks
Think They’ve Got Your Back? Think Again.
It’s Not Only About the Actual Auto Body Repair, But Also About the Politics of the Repair That You Need to Know to Avoid Being Caught Up in “The Network”.
Right out of the gate, insurance companies will “strongly suggest” body shops that are within their network of repair facilities, despite the fact that by law it’s your choice where you take your damaged vehicle.
Here are 6 of the Ploys that Insurance Companies Use to Guide You to Their “Preferred Shop”
#1- “We won’t guarantee the repairs if you use your preferred auto body repair shop”
Simply put, this is no more than a scare tactic to direct you to the insurance company’s “in network” repair shop.
A reputable auto body repair shop stands behind their work while adhering to high standards of Safety, Function and Appearance in every vehicle it repairs.
Because insurance companies have placed a priority on their “cost saving” tactics to protect profitability, they often resort to creating a network of substandard shops. The trade off is that the insurance company then “guarantees” repairs that are done by that shop, given the likelihood that those repairs do not meet manufacturer-recommended standards. They consider that too costly to their bottom line. And that “guarantee” sanctions sub-standard work.
Despite what your insurance company is claiming, you do have choices:
If you’ve used a “network” repair shop, get a post-repair inspection to make sure that your repair meets manufacturer-recommended standards. If it does not, the burden to pay for the re-repair falls on your insurance company.
Post-repair inspections can be arranged with a Consumer Advocate Auto Body Repair Shop which typically works outside of the insurance company network.
Note the words “consumer advocate”. That’s why.
Exercise your right to choose the repair shop best-suited to the job.
You do have this right… by Nevada State Law.
Under no circumstances are you required to utilize the insurance company “network” in selecting an Auto Body Repair Shop.
#2 – “It could cost you more if you use that auto body repair shop”
In some instances, repairs compensated by the insurance company don’t align with those recommended by the vehicle manufacturer’s repair recommendations.
So it could cost you more if you elect to pay for repairs above and beyond what your insurance company has deemed “suitable” for your safety.
Is that how you regard your safety measures…”suitable”?
It’s also curious to find that insurance companies now consider themselves the experts in auto body repair, when it’s the technicians performing the repair who are the true experts and whose opinion should be respected.
If you end up authorizing only those repairs that the insurance company will cover, you may unwittingly be assuming associated liability for any future incidents arising out of an inferior repair.
#3 – “We can’t help you if you have a problem with that auto body repair shop”
What they call “help” is actually sanctioning a cheaper and sub-standard repair. Then, to add insult to injury, they claim that the repair was performed to “industry standards”.
Any repair shop that you choose has a fiduciary responsibility to repair your vehicle correctly and in accordance with manufacturer recommended guidelines, which differ greatly from what insurance companies term “industry standards”.
There are conflict resolution procedures in place that must be honored by law.
Seems the law saw fit to enact a protocol to truly help protect you against this claim.
#4 – “We can get your vehicle repaired more cheaply at another place in town”
Their discounts and deals are meant to line insurance company pockets, with little regard for your safety. There is absolutely no financial benefit to you when your insurance company insists that you sign off on discount repairs.
Yet, the quality of those repairs will have long-lasting effects on you and your safety on the road. Are you willing to chance it?
An insurance company anchored in quantity discounts for substandard work can put you and your family at risk in the long run.
#5 – “You must use one of our recommended auto body repair shops to be covered”
Nevada State Law states that you have the right to choose your auto body repair facility.
Your insurance company cannot dictate to you where to take your car for repairs that are covered by your policy, as stated in NRS 690B.016 and NRS 597.535.
Insurance companies capitalize on your ignorance of these statutes to pressure you into being directed to one of their “preferred” shops.
And they let you think that you need more than one estimate. You do not.
Bear in mind that insurance companies assume that most people appreciate convenience, which is why they are happy to help you out with their recommendation. But at what cost? Is your safety worth the trade off?
That’s why it’s important to carefully choose a repair shop that has a reputation for excellence and takes pride in their work…not the quickest, cheapest and most convenient shop that’s focused on churning out insurance work at a fast pace.
Choose an auto body shop that repairs vehicles to high standards of Safety, Function and Appearance.
#6 – “If you use one of our preferred auto body repair shops, your car will be first in line, and you’ll get it back sooner than at another shop”
Quality auto body repair takes time, no matter where you take your car.
Once a shop surveys the damage and submits an estimate to the insurance company for approval to commence work, they schedule the repair, order the parts and get to work by assigning experienced technicians to perform work that not only leaves your car looking good, but also integrates best safe practices to make sure that all is sound above, below and all around.
Are you sure you want to trade safe and sound for fast and convenient?
To avoid the pitfalls of “The Network”, choose a consumer advocate auto body shop whose loyalty rests with you, who will depend upon the repaired vehicle and its safety every day. Manage the process. Don’t let the insurance company manage you.